Keynote presentation prepared for the ORSTOM/UNESCO Conference on "20th Century Science: Beyond the Metropolis", Paris, September 19-22, 1994. Published in French as "La coopération internationale en temps de crise", in Roland Waast, ed., Les Sciences hors d'Occident au Xxe. Siècle, vol. 1, Les Conferences, Paris, ORSTOM, 77-86. Established in 1943 as the "Office de la Recherche Scientifique Coloniale" (later "l'Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique d'Outre Mer)", ORSTOM was from the beginning an example of the dilemmas and tensions that emerge at the crossroads of science and government, science and empire, scientific centres and peripheries, scientific cooperation and scientific imperialism. Created at the end of the Vichy government, ORSTOM was a project of a group of scientists - members of the "Association des Rechercheurs Scientifiques Coloniaux", and of the "Association Colonies-Science" - who wanted to define their place after the war, when France would recover its position among the European colonial powers(1). They had to be close to the authorities in the colonial administration, while establishing their autonomy from government. To be autonomous, they had to be accepted as equal to other fellow scientists, not just users of knowledge produced elsewhere.